Toastmasters: Your Body Speaks – A Great Example

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a member of Toastmasters, in Vancouver. I’ve been participating in Toastmasters for about a year now and it’s been a wonderful learning experience. One of the side-effects of being a Toastmaster is that when I listen to someone public speak I’m also watching them public speak.

A good example for Toastmasters: Malcom Gladwell Speaking at TED 2004

This morning I was reading the Industrial Brand Creative Blog and found a link to a great video of Malcolm Gladwell giving a speech at the TED Conference in 2004.

Your Body Speaks
Project 5 in the Toastmasters’s Communication and Leadership program is called “Your Body Speaks”. The emphasis is on being aware of your body language and using it to your benefit while speaking.

In the video above, notice how Gladwell’s hands are moving without meaning in the first few minutes of the talk. As he continues and finds his groove, his body language becomes much more deliberate, his gestures larger. He uses the stage well, by moving around slowly and keeping the viewers’ attention on him.

Gladwell’s speech drew me in immediately – I really enjoyed it. If you have the time, watch the video a second time while concentrating on his body language.

10 Replies to “Toastmasters: Your Body Speaks – A Great Example”

  1. Have you completed the ‘Your Body Speaks’ project in the Communication manual? What was the topic of your speech? I’m thinking of talking about Body Language, which relates to the project, but is a very broad subject.

  2. Aaron – I haven’t completed the “Your Body Speaks” project, as I’ve been terribly busy and haven’t been attending lately. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things in May and get through the rest of the manual.

    My recommendation would be to pick a couple aspects of body language and drill-down on them rather than try to cover too much in a 5 min presentation.

    Good luck!

  3. Dear Jeremy,

    I’m xiaoxiao from Shanghai, China. I joined Toastmasters club last month, I just finished my C4 speech.

    I’m so happy to see your blog.

  4. Hi, Jeremy
    I am going to deliver my fifth speech tomorrow.
    Trying to decide what to talk about………
    Good luck,

  5. Yeah, people can see and understand about us and the thing that we’re explaining simply by our body language.
    I hope to learn more this whole project soon. 😉

  6. Hi, I am going to do my 5th speech of CC manual on 21st January 2009.. Trying to find some ideas by googling.. this is how i got into here and it is happy to see this blog which is pretty updated!

    Internet really a global village that link all people around the world.. For those who share the same interest, it is defintely a PLUS especially for Toastmasters. I am from Malaysia and I have been with Toastmasters for 6 months.

    Please feel free to drop by our blogspot at I just created a facebook by name: ITC Bintang Toastmasters. It is a very new account which need your support to share your links and contacts. Lets connect the people who are sharing the same interest- Public Speaking and Leadership!

    Wish me good luck for my coming speech!!

  7. Hi Jeremy. Was helping a friend with his speech on Project 5 and came across your site. Good luck with your TM journey. I was @ Deer Park TM in Toronto for a few years and have now relocated back to Bangalore, India.

    My take on body language is that it should be rehearsed in the background yet delivered as naturally as possible when facing an audience, it should not be overdone and in my speechs i try to avoid the cliched gestures like saying NO with an obvious shake of head etc..things that I think end up looking cheesy.

    Just popped in to say hello and I enjoyed browsing your site.


  8. Jeremy, I loved this Gladwell talk.

    Gladwell — like other TED speakers such as Dave Eggers — starts his talk nervously. But a few minutes into their talks, they hit their stride.

    Do you have videos for any of your speeches?

    I did a talk on three reasons why Toastmasters should watch TED Talks, and I’d like to connect with other Toastmasters interested in TED.

    Here’s the talk, with video:

    Best wishes, Kevin

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